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Pierre Biard: Priest and Pirate of Mount Desert Island

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Chapter Summary

Exploring one person's story within the context of the Atlantic World increases our understanding of the past more than a straightforward set of biographical facts. Pierre Biard, a French Jesuit priest, was one of those people who experienced the complexity of Atlantic World movement and encounter it first-hand. Perhaps the most important thing to know about Biard was that he was a Jesuit - that is, an ordained priest of a Roman Catholic religious order called the Society of Jesus - and was therefore one of many such priests, all well-educated and worldly, who were expected to travel to newly-"discovered" lands, study the inhabitants, and promote Christianity. It was this association that led him on an odyssey of voyages across the Atlantic, the founding of new colonies, encounters with Native peoples, New World religious wars, accusations of piracy, and, perhaps surprisingly to modern readers, hospitality and tolerance from traditional enemies.

Keywords: Atlantic World; French Jesuit priest; Pierre Biard; Society of Jesus



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